Sixers-Trail Blazers: 5 things you need to know

Sixers-Trail Blazers: 5 things you need to know

Brown concerned with Sixers' energy, turnover issues

December 14, 2013, 11:30 am
Share This Post

The Sixers (7-17) return home from their two-game road trip to host the Portland Trail Blazers (19-4) on Saturday night.

Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (CSN) at the Wells Fargo Center.

Let’s take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Look out for LaMarcus
The Sixers will square off against one of the NBA’s hottest teams to start the season in Portland and an early MVP candidate in forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

Aldridge is averaging career highs with 23.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. He is coming off a monster 31-point, 25-rebound effort in the Trail Blazers’ win over the Houston Rockets on Thursday.

The Sixers will need to be disciplined on defense if they hope to contain Aldridge and snap their five-game losing skid. They can’t fall for the two-time All-Star’s array of fakes and spin moves, particularly Thaddeus Young, who has at least four personal fouls in each of the last four games.

2. Third power
Even with Aldridge playing at such a high level, the Sixers can’t fall into a habit of just focusing on him. The Blazers have plenty of other weapons that have helped propel them to the best record in the Western Conference.

The Blazers play well off of Aldridge, finding open shots off him operating in the high post.

Portland is second in the league in three-point percentage (40.9) and threes made per game (9.5). Guard Wesley Matthews is certainly a threat from long range. His 46.8 percentage from beyond the arc is eighth in the NBA.

That doesn’t bode well for the Sixers’ porous three-point defense. They allow league highs in three-point attempts per game at 26.7 and three-pointers made per game (9.6). Overall, the Sixers have given up an NBA-worst 221 three-pointers this season.

3. Push it
While the Blazers do score the league’s second-highest points per game with 106.4, they don’t necessarily like to play at an up-tempo rate.

The Sixers play at the NBA ‘s fastest pace (102.0 possessions per 48 minutes) and should attempt to run every chance they get on Saturday against a Portland team that uses a nine-man rotation.

The Sixers are second in the NBA in overall fast-break points. Keeping their foot on the pedal will be key if they hope to take down the Trail Blazers.

4. Injuries
Michael Carter-Williams (knee) is day to day.

Nerlens Noel (knee), Arnett Moultrie (ankle) and Jason Richardson (knee) are all out.

C.J. McCollum (foot) is out for the Blazers.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost a season-worst five straight games and 13 of their last 15.

• The Sixers are 1-8 against Western Conference teams this season.

• The Blazers are 18-1 this season when Matthews scores in double figures.

• The Sixers are 1-8 without Carter-Williams. Tony Wroten is averaging 19.0 points per game in those nine starts for the rookie point guard.

• Last season’s Rookie of the Year, Damian Lillard, enters Saturday’s game against the Sixers averaging 20.1 points, 5.6 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game.

• Spencer Hawes averaged 14.0 points and 12.0 rebounds in two games against the Blazers last season.